Poetry Challenge #7 09/09’2012

This weeks poem about war.
I found this amazing story poem in the BBC archives. You can find it here It is a child’s point of view of the beginning of the Blitz. This young lad Len Smith lived in the Eastend of London, the dock area. He would of seen some of the worst air raids of the war.
He would of lost family and friends in these raids. Buildings, schools, homes, libraries swimming baths all would disappear. Over night he life and that of thousands of others changed. The war had come to them, right to their door step. and nothing would ever be the same again.
People in story: 
Len Smith
Location of story: 
East London
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
31 August 2004

Len Smith

The seventh of September
Was a warm and humid day,
The air so still and peaceful,
The war seemed far away.
But this was an illusion
For on that fateful afternoon
As the East End basked in sunshine
The peace would be ending soon

The wailing of the siren
Heralding the coming raid,
Distant gunfire coming nearer
It was time to be afraid.
‘Come on get down the shelter!’
I heard my father cry,
As a droning air armada
Approached across the sky.

Huddled in the Anderson shelter
We shielded our heads in fear,
As bombs rained down around us
It seemed our end was near.
Shrapnel from the bursting shells
Fell crashing on the tiles.
The ground shook with explosions
That could be felt for miles.

After three long hours of terror,
We heard the all-clear sound.
And shakily we climbed out
From our dug-out in the ground.
All around the sky glowed red,
Dense smoke lay in the air,
Acrid fumes from nearby fires,
Smashed windows everywhere.

We prepared sandwiches and flasks of tea,
Blankets and pillows as well,
For we knew the bombers would come back
As soon as darkness fell.
And sure enough by 8pm
We heard the siren sound
And quickly we retreated to our dug-out in the ground.

All night long the raid went on;
It lasted till the dawn.
So many died that day and night,
So many deaths to mourn.
But this was only just the start,
The real war had begin,
And raids like this would carry on
Through nineteen forty-one.

Bombs hit the docks and factories
Along the Thameside shore,
Churches, schools and hospitals,
And the dwellings of the poor.
From Silvertown to Stratford
And from Mile End to Millwall
The destruction was extensive
And the East End bore it all.

Few of the heroes who served us well
Are still around today,
The wardens, rescue teams and firemen
Who kept the flames at bay.
Many died in action,
As official lists relate,
Their names enshrined forever
On a Canning Town estate.

Mass graves and crumbling tombstones
Tell their story of the war,
When the mighty air armadas
Smashed the dwellings of the poor.
Though more than sixty years have passed
I always will remember
That dreadful day it all began
The seventh of September.

© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.


I do not know anything more about Len Smith except for the fact he was a child when Black Saturday hit London’s Eastend. There was another article written by a Len Smith who join the army it is called ‘Len Smith’s bomb disposal experiences, It is a very interest article too. You can find it here

Poetry Challenge #7 is to create a journal of links and your reactions to poems by established (living or dead poets.) Details are here.  Example response is here. Mr. Linky for Challenge #7 is directly below:





It is a very interesting article too!


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. eof737
    Sep 09, 2012 @ 10:27:45

    Well captured… 😉


  2. Bruce Ruston
    Sep 09, 2012 @ 19:48:46

    well present and an interesting read


  3. granbee
    Sep 10, 2012 @ 21:59:49

    I am so grateful for your bringing to our attention the 7th of September, Black Saturday, as a day of infamy for the UK; just as December 7th, 1941, was the day of infamy (Pearl Harbor) for the U.S.


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